Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Manchester to Elsecar

Armed with Bradshaw’s Guide, Michael Portillo continues his journey through Britain's industrial heartlands, leaving Manchester for Oldham, Edale and a private family railway line.

Armed with his early 20th-century Bradshaw’s Guide, Michael Portillo continues his journey from Warrington to the Potteries in Stoke-on-Trent.
In Manchester, at the magnificent Heaton Park, Michael discovers one of the first open-air concerts was held here in 1909 by an opera fan, William Grimshaw, who entertained 40,000 people to the music of opera superstar Enrico Caruso on a gramophone.
In Oldham, Michael discovers the battle fought by one of Britain’s most distinguished statesmen to be elected as the town’s member of Parliament. And he uncovers the rough tactics of the election campaign.
In Edale, in the beautiful Peak District, Michael joins ramblers in walking country. He learns that, at the time of his guide, landowners did not countenance intrusion and he hears how a Sheffield socialist spearheaded a mass trespassing revolt to open up the countryside to working people.
Michael picks up the trail of King George V and Queen Mary, who visited the vast and Yorkshire estate of Wentworth Woodhouse in 1913. Home to one of the wealthiest dynasties in Britain, the Earls Fitzwilliam, their fortune was built on coal. Michael discovers a carefully planned royal charm offensive designed to win the affection and trust of the working classes at a time of severe industrial unrest.
Michael follows the royal party’s footsteps to Lord Fitzwilliam’s mining village and colliery, where the family’s private railway line, which later connected the estate’s iron and coal works, still runs. Michael takes a trip and is permitted to operate the locomotive.

29 minutes


Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:04

    Enrico Caruso



Role Contributor
Presenter Michael Portillo
Series Editor Alison Kreps
Director Anthony Holland


  • Wed 6 Feb 2019 18:30
  • Tue 28 May 2019 08:30

Steam Railways

Steam Railways

A collection of programmes from the BBC archives on the beauty of steam locomotives.